The Heads of Profession Group in the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Research and Evidence Directorate have championed interdisciplinary thinking for many years. We would like to think that we model such behaviour and ways of working. Since the merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, this approach has been reinforced by a stronger element of geographical and political expertise among research analysts.
This guide is a result of the Learning Journey on Systems Thinking and Practice. We are not the first to promote systems thinking. For example, the Government Office for Science produced the Introductory systems thinking toolkit for civil servants (Government Office for Science, 2022) and there is a cross-government community of practice on systems thinking. However, this FCDO guide is the first that brings together a systems approach to ‘development and diplomacy’. It complements the Government Office for Science publication by showing how systems thinking can be applied in FCDO and giving additional background on systems thinking and social change.